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Experiencing My City
Nathalie Bertrand

In the water before work

24 hours in Montréal
Published on
July 10, 2018
As the early morning sun stretches out over the river, Nathalie Bertrand is already doing lengths alongside the other swimmers in her triathlon club.

“I’m not a morning person, I’m a sleeper,” says the 49-year-old triathlete who swims 2,000 metres before heading to work, four days a week.

Nathalie Bertrand tried training during the evening, but just didn’t have the energy. More than that, everything seemed to conspire against her best intentions: meetings dragging out, end-of-day delivery dates, appointments …

“At 6 a.m., everyone’s still sleeping, and all is quiet,” says the athlete and mother of three.

Some richly rewarding “me time”

Before she’s even put on her bathing suit, Nathalie Bertrand feels grateful that she’s able to start her day by taking care of herself. Staring into the bottom of the pool, she focuses on the alternating strokes, the arms clapping against the surface, followed by the muffled sound of legs beating against the water. This is an almost meditative activity, during which her senses concentrate on the effort dictated by the stopwatch in the hands of the Swim Smooth club trainer.

Nathalie fait partie du Swim Smooth Montréal

Under the surface, the swimmer is thinking at all times – about the distance covered and to come – and feeding off the presence of her teammates in the same lane. The stress of work and the household have no place here.

Making the most of the city

“All winter, we swim at the Olympic Park Sports Centre, where the atmosphere is truly conducive the surpassing your limits: you feel like an athlete, even on mornings when the body is less willing!” says Nathalie Bertrand.

In summer, Nathalie does her lengths at Parc Jean-Drapeau, the sound of the city’s festivals in full swing in the background. “There’s something magic about sliding into the cool of the pool, the heat of day slowly building,” says the swimmer. So far, and yet so close to the hustle and bustle of downtown Montréal and the demands of daily life...

“I start my day on the right foot, already satisfied to have put myself first,” says Nathalie Bertrand. “When I step out of the pool, I’m ready to give 110% to my work and my family.”



The island is home to several swim clubs that offer advanced training. And they’re much more accessible than you’d think! Here are just a few:

Swim Smooth Montréal (Centre sportif du Parc olympique, parc Jean-Drapeau et Petite-Bourgogne) :http://www.swimsmoothmontreal.com/ 
Club Neptune at the Centre sportif du Parc olympique : www.neptunenatation.com 
CAMO Natation the Centre Claude-Robillard : camonatation.org 
Club Aquatique R2P at the piscine Rosemont : www.clubaquatiquerpp.com 
Club les Piranhas du nord at the piscine Sophie-Barat : www.clubcapn.com 
Club sportif MAA, downtown www.clubsportifmaa.com 
Club des maîtres nageurs YMCA (downtown, Hochelaga, Westmount) : www.ymcaquebec.org